Robstown police have a new tool in place to fight crime, one that they hope will help the public play a role in combating criminal activity around the city.
Police Chief Johnny Brown said Monday that the department has been testing a new anonymous tip line, 387-TIPS, for the past few months. The number is meant for callers who want to provide information about potential criminal activities, but who do not wish to be identified.
Brown said the idea came about last year because residents were calling the police department and wanting to provide information on suspicious activity, but were reluctant to give their names. The new hotline does not have a way to identify callers, nor are they required to reveal anything about themselves, he added, but residents are able to leave information on a recording for police.
No rewards are given for information provided by callers, but in instances in which one may be offered, such as for information related to a homicide, the department will turn to the Corpus Christi Crimestoppers unit for assistance, Brown said.
The line is not restricted to any particular crime, the chief said, so residents can call if they have information regarding anything from burglaries and drag racing to assaults.
"Anything that's bothering them they can call us about," Brown said.
No definitive statistics were available on how many calls the hotline averages per week, but Brown said the department has received solid information from citizens on various cases, including one that resulted in the recent arrest of 31-year-old Ben Adrian Gonzalez.
"We've gotten some good tips on it," Brown said.
An anonymous tipster had informed police that a vehicle driven by Gonzalez was transporting illegal narcotics. During a traffic stop, police found heroin, cocaine and prescription medication stashed inside a can of brake cleaner with a hidden compartment.
It is that type of cooperation that Brown said he hopes will improve as people realize how the new hotline allows them to play a vital role in lowering crime throughout the city.
"The information (citizens) give is strictly confidential and is not shared with anyone else," Brown said. "It's been very effective so far."